Kim Appelt owns and operates StyleByKimxo, a personal and celebrity styling company. She has worked with Hollywood elite, affluent clientele, and notable fashion brands like Saks, Jenny Bird, and Pink Tartan. Kim is one of Canada’s leading experts on fashion and style. We chatted with her about her new ‘Secrets of A Stylist’ YouTube channel (debuting March 3), work/motherhood balance, and why you need to ditch the fake nails already.
SDTC: Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
KA: I grew up in South Africa (in Gaborone, Botswana) and ever since I was a little girl I have had an interest in fashion. I have a little sister and fortunately for me, and perhaps unfortunately for her, she was my living doll. I made outfits for her using my mom’s clothing and created “wigs” out of braided panty hose. Needless to say, she looked amazing!
I now have three kids, so when I am not working I can be found doing anything from making forts out of blankets to overseeing random shenanigans. Yesterday my 11 year old decided she was going to make cookies by herself and used icing sugar instead of flour…as you can imagine, that ended up a royal mess.
Can you walk me through a typical day in your life, from getting up to going to bed?
My days are variable, as much as I try to maintain a schedule. I can wake up to a new stylist booking and my whole day changes. Typically, I am up by 5:30 a.m. I check my phone first to make sure my day hasn’t changed, grab a coffee, clean the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, make lunches and by 7:30 a.m. my kids are up and we are out the door.
After that, my “other” work day starts. I sit down at my computer and post on social media. Yesterday I had a one-on-one session with a client at 11 a.m. and a photo shoot at 2 p.m. I am heading into my busy season now so in between bookings I am looking at designer lines and putting together ideas for client red carpet looks. I also write for a few online fashion publications, and dedicate time to that between my appointments. This March I am launching a new YouTube channel so after the kids are all asleep, I spend my evenings working on that and usually head to bed around 10 p.m…not as glamorous as you might think.
I want to overhaul my look but I don’t know where to start. Any tips?
When doing an overhaul the best place to start is in your closet. You can’t bring in new pieces until you know what you have, love, hate and need. Seek out a professional personal stylist to get you going, if you don’t have the means to do that, invite over your most stylish friend to help you.
My stylist tip is: when editing your closet, if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a year, it’s time to get rid of it!
How can I find my own unique style (without looking clownish?)
To find your own unique style, think about your childhood. Were you a jeans and sneakers kinda girl or did you love Mary Janes and fancy dresses? Often when you think back to the beginning you realize you don’t change much. From there take a look at fashion magazines, celebrities, bloggers, you can find inspiration almost anywhere, but take note of what you like.
What is a classic look that looks good on nearly everyone?
Denim and a white shirt. This can be look can be adapted to whatever style works for you, whether it is a pair of boyfriend jeans with a classic V-neck tee and a pair of Converse sneakers, or dark jeans and a crisp collared white shirt finished off with ballet flats. Regardless, everyone looks good in a white shirt and jeans. I just did a video on different ways to wear your white tee.
What trends are you loving right now?
My favourite trends right now include fringe accents; the look is playful and fun and so hot for spring. I also love the 70s-inspired style. From flirty prints and billowy fabrics to over-the-top embellishments and great silhouettes, this look plays in very well with boho-chic. Lastly the boyfriend jean, the loose fit is extremely flattering for virtually all body types, and the cropped length allows your shoes to stand out. Whether you are dressing them up or dressing them down, boyfriend jeans are extremely versatile.
How do you go about styling your celebrity clients? Do they always love what you choose, or do they occasionally need some convincing to try it?
My clients usually love what I choose. They know me, they know my style and trust me to put together looks that will flatter them and make them feel amazing. However, everyone needs a little nudge from time to time to get out of their safety zone, even me.
What trends need to end, now?
Long fake nails! Classic short nails are the way to go.
How would you describe your own personal style?
Classy with an edge. You will usually see me in a white tee, jeans, black moto jacket and booties. I almost always have short nails in red or pale pink with some funky rings to top it off.
What can we expect to see on your new YouTube channel?
Expect to see secrets of stylists – and in fact that’s what my channel is called. I will show viewers how to wear different looks and trends, and I will also be showcasing little things that will help you with day-to-day styling. It’s like having your own personal stylist at home. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss anything.